10 Frugal Newborn Products You’ll Actually Use
There are about 10 million kajillion baby/ newborn products out there to choose from and for every product out there there’s at least 100 people telling you it’s an absolute must have. But you can’t have everything. There needs to be a line because this mama doesn’t have endless pockets or infinity space to store all the random crap that’s out there.
How does a mom-to-be know who to trust and which products baby actually needs?
Well, you can listen to my suggestions but in the end you kind of have to figure out what works best for you and baby. Because every mom is different and every baby is different. Cloth diapers might be a must for one mom and a hard pass for another. Your baby might NEED the sound machine and another might need vibrations.
But, if you are anything like me, or your baby is anything like my baby, check out our top 10 baby essentials for when you are on a budget.
1. Muslin Swaddles
When Easton was a newborn, this was one of our most used baby products. We used them as burp rags, cleaning up leaky milk, a changing pad, car seat cover (because it was summer), and of course as an actual swaddle. I feel like if you have a decent stash of swaddles the can take the place of a lot of other products and simplify the things you need. Plus I seriously love how cute all the patterns are!
Swaddles are something that can get a little expensive but if you go to the clearance section at Ross or TJ Maxx at the end of the season you can find a set of them for a decent price. We also got one for free with Easton just by setting up a baby registry through Amazon and purchasing something off of it. They send you a whole box of free stuff and you actually get a discount off anything on your registry for a limited time. I’d call that a win!
2. Nursing Pads
Nursing pads aren’t exactly a “newborn product” per say, since you are the one using them but they’re a necessity for a little while after baby is born.
I started out with some reusable ones but at the time we were living in an apartment complex where we could only do laundry once a week. When my milk was first coming in I was going through all my nursing pads in one day and ended up hand washing and hang drying them. Not something I wanted to add to my plate at the time. I also didn’t want to spend more money on reusable ones so I just went with the disposable ones. These actually work great for when you are going out because if they get too wet you can just throw them out. I still used the reusable ones but only when I was at home.
Even if you are set on breastfeeding I think it is important to have bottles on hand before the baby arrives. I thought I was going to exclusively breastfeed but I ended up doing both for a while. You never know what your situation will be like and a fed baby is the best baby. So having a bottle or two just in case is never going to hurt.
Before my milk regulated, I was able to catch and save a lot of milk during let down. You don’t want to waste that milk so having a bottle is helpful. I also liked having a bottle in the beginning for when I was out and about because it’s not always easy to find a place to feed.
I was lucky and my first didn’t have any nipple confusion so having a bottle was and essential for us because it gave us the options.
This one is kind of random and you might be thinking, “how is a basket a newborn product,” but our diaper basket has seen some major action! That basket is one of the most used baby products we own. Inside it we keep diapers, diaper cream, the snot sucker, a changing pad and a few other odds and ends. We’ve only ever been in a one floor apartment but if you have multiple floors or a larger house I would suggest having more than one.
I think they make diaper catties which would also totally work but you can find baskets for cheap just about anywhere and they work just as well. You might even have one already lying around the house that you could re-purpose! When Easton was first born we just used one of those cube storage containers from the dollar store. Since then we’ve upgraded a sturdier, more stylish one that we actually got as a gift.
Whatever style you get, they work great because you can easily move them to whichever room you might need and it keeps everything contained.
5. Car Seat
This one is a no brainer newborn product but important nonetheless. This is something I would try and pick up or order at least a month before your due date just in case.
I know there are a lot of really expensive car seats out there but I did a ton of research when my first son was born and ended up getting the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 in Gotham grey. I like this car seat because it’s not too heavy which makes it a lot easier to tote a growing baby around. I also loved it because it fit right into our stroller which is my next baby essential.
Tragically we actually had to get rid of our stroller when we moved across the country last year but the 9 months we had it were great! Taking Easton on walks was one of my favorite things to do. Anytime he was super fussy I’d take him outside and he’d be perfectly content.
So, if there was one thing that I would splurge on it would be getting a nice stroller. We were actually gifted ours but it was one of the best things we received. We had the Graco Fast Action Fold Jogging Stroller and absolutely loved it! It came as a travel system with our car seat which was a lot cheaper than buying them separately. I like this stroller in particular because it was really easy to fold up with one hand and store. I also really liked the rubber wheels which made it easy to push even in the grass. The only downside to this stroller is that it’s really big. It pretty much filled up our whole trunk so traveling with it isn’t super practical.
Now that the weather is starting to get nice again, and we’ll have two under two, I’m looking to get some kind of double stroller. I’ll get back to you and let you know if I find one as nice as my Graco Jogging Stroller!
7. Diaper Bag
A diaper bag is especially important with a newborn. I’ll have a post coming with all the things I keep in my diaper bag coming soon. For now I’ll just share a few reasons why it’s so important to have one.
When you’re at home everything you could possibly need for baby is in a designated spot but eventually you’re going to have to leave your house and when that happens some of those things kept tidily at home are going to need to come with you. My diaper bag checklist post will be coming soon but some of the things you’ll need are diapers & wipes (obviously), spare clothes, and burp clothes.
A diaper bag is basically a newborn product used to carry around a bunch of other newborn products!
Not only do you have to tote around a bunch of things for baby, you yourself will want to keep a number of things in there. In the first few weeks postpartum you may have a few extra essentials like breast pads, maxi pads, and ibuprofen among other things. Once you’re recovered there will be less things you need but your still going to want a diaper bag to contain all the stuff!
8. Portable Changing Pad
We’ve never invested in a changing table because we feel like the floor gets the job done just as well. It’s something we may have considered if we had more space and money but remember, this is a frugal list of baby products and a changing table really isn’t necessary.
We did however love the portable changing pad that came with our diaper bag. I didn’t use it every time at home but my husband, Ben, used it religiously. It saved our carpet from a number of blow outs as well.
The nice thing about a portable changing mat is that it can easily be thrown in the wash. It’s also nice to take with you in the diaper bag. Whether you’re at someone else’s how or your using a public bathroom, it’s nice to have your own changing pad to use as barrier and keep your baby healthy.
When Easton was first born I didn’t want to put anything on that was too tight until his umbilical cord fell off and healed. Easton was about the 50th percentile for everything and I felt like most of his onesies were too tight.
Sleepers are a great alternative because they are usually a lot looser. Plus your newborn is sleepy all the time anyway and will look so adorable and cozy in their sleeper!
One tip for sleepers is to put them in zip up sleepers at night to make it easier on yourself when you have to change them in the middle of the night.
10. Baby Blanket
Because of the time of year Easton was born, we need something more than a swaddle blanket to cover him when we went out. We were gifted a small fuzzy baby blanket that came with us all the time! Anytime Easton was put in his car seat, his blanket would accompany him. We also used it anytime we went on a walk with him and at home for him to just play on.
Having a baby blanket specifically works best because normal size blankets have too much excess blanket that make it more difficult to tote around. A small baby blanket is perfect for going over the car seat and using in the stroller.
What Newborn Products Will You Choose?
Just like I talk about in my Breastfeeding vs Bottle Feeding blog post, every baby, mama, and situation are different so ultimately you’ll have to decide which newborn products work best for you and your baby.
I tried to only include newborn products that were an absolute must for us so I hope that helps you narrow down your list of things you actually need.
What are some newborn products you already have locked and loaded?